‘That's not philosophy’: Feminism, academia and the double bind

Jenkins, K. (2014) ‘That's not philosophy’: Feminism, academia and the double bind. Journal of Gender Studies, 23(3), pp. 262-274. (doi: 10.1080/09589236.2014.909720)

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In this paper I explore the situation of feminist academics, positing a tension between the demands of feminist research and the norms of academia. Feminist research, I suggest, may be subject to de-legitimisation on the grounds of supposed lack of objectivity, to marginalisation from the main body of a discipline and to conceptual hostility when operating within the main body of a discipline. I then show that the situation of feminist academics can be conceptualised as a double bind: a set of circumstances in which an agent is given a set of competing demands, with no possibility of receiving clarification as to which demands to pursue. I argue that this interpretation of the situation of feminist academics is helpful because it prompts constructive ways of thinking. It encourages feminist academics to adopt a non-judgemental attitude towards ourselves and towards others, and it reminds us to fix our sights on long-term strategies. These suggestions in turn lead me to urge a renewed solidarity between feminists in academia. The form of solidarity I advocate is action based and inclusive, spanning disciplines, genders and research specialisms. Such solidarity can enable positive responses to the double bind facing feminist academics.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jenkins, Dr Katharine
Authors: Jenkins, K.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Journal of Gender Studies
ISSN (Online):1465-3869
Published Online:17 April 2014

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